The Country Road: Stories

Regina Ullman (Author) Kurt Beals (Translator)


The stories in this volume are largely set in the Swiss countryside, and though resonant of nineteenth-century village tales and of authors such as Adalbert Stifter, Ullmann s distinctive, otherworldly voice has inspired comparisons to her contemporary Robert Walser. In her stories, the archaic and the modern collide. In one tale, a young woman on an exhausting country walk recoils at a passing bicyclist, but accepts a ride from a wagon, taking her seat on a trunk with a snake coiled inside. As Ullmann writes, sometimes the whole world appears to be painted on porcelain, right down to the dangerous cracks. This delicate but brittle beauty, with its ominous undertones, gives Regina Ullmann her unique voice."

Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
January 20, 2015
5.1 X 0.4 X 8.2 inches | 0.3 pounds
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About the Author

Admired by Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and particularly Rainer Maria Rilke, Regina Ullmann became famous with the 1921 publication of this collection. After a difficult life ("I went by the detour instead of by the way"), she died in 1961.
In 2010 Kurt Beals was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award for Anja Utler's engulf-enkindle, and in 2012 he won the first ever German Book Office Translation Prize. His translation of Regina Ullmann's The Country Road was published by New Directions in 2015.


A pure poetic talent: everything is full of mystery.--Hermann Hesse
To read your book for me is such a multiplicity of joys that I can only gradually cope with it.--Rainer Maria Rilke, in a letter to Regina Ullmann
Her voice is something holy.--Thomas Mann
A triumphant translation.
Regina Ullmann has a sense of authenticity and a touch of genius.--Robert Musil
Ullmann is a one-off, an original, a really deeply peculiar writer.--Michael Hofmann
Its language feels timeless--rich and cavernous and haunted.--Kevin Nguyen
Ullmann delicately balances each of her characters' emotions on a pinpoint, presenting both the beauty and fragility of every momentary feeling.--Jan Anspach
It's as if Ullmann takes biblical wisdom literature, strips it of all moral judgment, and then spins it with rotating moments of natural bliss and existential fear.--Jonathan Sturgeon